Category Archives: Lifestyle

Running Low On Joy These Days?

Feeling a little blah? A little, “Where am I going and what’s the point in all this?”   Want to explore some possibilities?

Perhaps it’s a good idea to do your own network check, starting from the most powerful system you own: your brain. What is happening in your mind? What’s the panorama up there?

What do you think about during a day? Uplifting, or depressing ideas? Constructive, or destructive?  If we’re honest, many of us spend considerable time in the realm of negativity, without even considering the effect on our futures.

Do you realize that your time and your thoughts are actually potentially priceless treasures? One is so rare it can never be replaced, and with the other, we can change the world.

Your time and thoughts have higher value than in spending them fostering an offense or nurturing a regret. The only return on these is seeing your life waste away.

Use that energy to cultivate your God-inspired giftings and worthy interests, and you will find enthusiasm, vitality and joy again.

Decide to avoid criticism and negativity, both in yourself, and in your circle of acquaintances.

Choose instead to surround yourself with a positive climate,  of people and activities that value good ideas, nurture constructive accomplishments, and work towards noble goals.

Focus your thoughts on that which builds up, not tears down. It can feel like any other skill-builder, or physical exercise –  very difficult at first!  It may involve a radical re-thinking of familiar negative patterns, and a conscious effort to stop bad habits, and introduce healthy replacement choices.  However, the payback, like physical exercise  or a great investment, is immense, in the outstanding benefits you will gain, both in your outlook , and in your life!

Start by taking the first negative thought that comes to mind, and find a replacement thought that looks hopeful or optimistic. Although this may seem futile at first, you are actually re-training your brain out of negative thought habits, and building new neural pathways.

Persist at it for long enough, and you will actually see and feel the beneficial changes in your brain and body. We have been Masterfully designed for self-repair.

In other words, you will change your own life for the better, just by changing your thought-world. You can offer – and be – that priceless treasure, depending on your choices.

Such is the miracle God has put in each one of us. We just have to accept, and use it!

Waste As Much Time As You Like

So, you have a dream. You have a vision; something you feel called to do. You have something burning in you that you want to accomplish, but somehow, whenever you try to start, something always comes up to knock you off course. Maybe you’re too busy, always on the go. Maybe you lack the know-how to launch your idea(s) off the ground. Perhaps you’re too tired, can’t afford the resources or help you need…

I’m the same way. I know I’m called to write. I took a writing course. Now I’m taking  a marketing course. Those were big steps.  I knew they would equip me to work much more knowledgeably and efficiently. And guess what happened?

They helped, but it wasn’t enough, and  they didn’t provide all the assistance I needed.

I find myself getting easily frustrated, and quitting all too fast. Why?  Because I don’t have all the answers in front of me – now – and I don’t see immediate, easy solutions.

I started another book outline last evening. Today I knew it was time to develop it, expand it into chapter outlines, start the research… Truthfully,  it’s easier to avoid it.  There’s a lot of work involved.

So, guess what I did?

Started playing with an old gold marker that was gummed up, and tried to get it working again.

I knew I’d taken the wrong direction and made a bad decision, but I did it anyway, because, even though I knew the right thing to do, I didn’t want to face the hard work.

Suddenly, I sensed a word presenting itself in my thoughts. The word was this:

“Waste all the time you want. I won’t stop you. But I will require it of you.”

I stopped, frozen. What was that again?

“Waste all the time you want. I won’t stop you. But I will require it of you.”

Uh-ohhh…I recognized a word of truth, and, I knew Who was speaking it.

I suddenly remembered the scripture that tells us to “Redeem the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16.  Colossians 4:5 also mentions about “…redeeming the time.”

In short, this means to buy up, ransom, salvage, rescue, protect, sustain, safeguard, and preserve TIME. It means to invest in it, to make wise and sacred use of it, to recover from the power of another. (Strongs, and Thayers definitions)

We think of time as uncontrollable entity. It passes by us effortlessly, and we can’t do a thing to stop it, can we? Yet, God has given us the awesome privilege of protecting, preserving, recovering and even purchasing time.  How?

By putting enough worth on it to not waste it. By recognizing how priceless are the opportunities we’ve been given to add value to time by investing our best into it.

How often do we say, “Where has the time gone?”

Have you, like me, often seen an entire day slip away and been unable to recall doing anything noteworthy within it?

Do you remember the Bible story of the man who left home for a trip far away? This employer was a bit different, in that he had studied his three servants, and noted their personal strengths.  He then gave them each differing amounts of money, corresponding to the abilities he saw in them.  Following this, he departed, and left them to see what they would do. (Matthew 25:14-30)

The first two servants took their allotments,  one with five talents and another with two, worked the money and invested wisely. The third servant chose to bury his in the ground.

When their master arrived back home, he called a meeting, and asked each one for an account of what they did with the money – talents, as it was called.

The first two servants had gone out and worked the money well. Each brought back good news, having gained double his initial amount. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful over some light responsibilities. Now, I’m going to make you a ruler over many things. Come, and celebrate the joy you’ve brought me!” was the reaction they received.

The interesting thing here, is that not only was their master very pleased, and praised their efforts well, he also instantly promoted them into positions of higher authority.

The third servant brought his report: “Master, I know you, that you’re a stern and a tough man. I know you reap from where you haven’t planted, and gain from where you haven’t invested, and I was afraid. So, I buried your talent in the ground. Here you go. I’m returning it to you.”

The reaction was as swift as the first two received, but definitely not as happy. “You wicked, lazy servant! You know that I reap from where I haven’t planted and gain from where I haven’t invested. You should have given my money to the brokers. Then when I returned I would have received my own, with interest. Take that talent, and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone that possesses and uses, it shall be given, and they will have abundance. But from those who lack due to this man’s reason, even what they did have will be taken away.”

The servant was then cast out, “into outer darkeness”.

Wow! That seems like a harsh response. After all, wasn’t the servant just “afraid”?  Shouldn’t he have been encouraged to try again?

Let’s look a bit deeper at what was really going on in that servant’s reply. If you read it over again, you’ll see several character traits portrayed in his answer.

He spoke definitively, calling his master a stern, tough man.  The servant chose to step out of his place, and assume a most un-servant-like attitude of judging his master’s personhood. Rather than honour the gift of his master’s success in business, he criticized  it.  This was another judgement, clearly out of his role. He evidently felt completely entitled to overlook a servant’s  job description of  respect, and  working for the betterment of the household. Next, rather than invest his entrustment, as his fellow-servants had done, he deliberately betrayed his master’s  wishes,  stopped any potential to succeed, and buried it. To his master’s face, he blamed his action on “fear”.

 

It was actually not fear, as much as intimidation, and likely envy, resulting in a judgmental attitude. There was a passive-aggressive colour to his actions, which his master instantly recognized.

If you remember, the story tells of how the master had observed his staff, and given the talents based on the abilities he had already seen in them. Obviously the servant who received the fewest had been noted as having some lesser qualities. After reading of his behavior, we could infer that his attitude had already been a noted problem.

This servant essentially blew the opportunity he had been given to redeem himself, even after his master, knowing what he knew of the man’s character, had tried again to give him a second chance.

This story continues to wrench me every time I read it. I feel regret, and sadness that there was no apparent gratitude from the servant, no effort to develop his giftings, better himself, or overcome his self-centredness. No desire to admit his faults or show any remorse.

You see,  Jesus said this story is like the kingdom of heaven. Every opportunity is given to help us succeed,  thrive and prosper. Our response, our attitude and actions are up to us.

Interestingly, Thayer’s definition of outer darkness is literal, as well as metaphorical. It refers to a person “of darkened eyesight, or blindness, ignorant of respecting divine things and human duties… “A person in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway.”

It makes me look at myself, and ask, how am I investing the gift that have been entrusted to me?

Yes, Jesus invested His absolute best into us. He gave every one of us gifts, ‘talents’ as it were. He gives us that second chance, and wants to see us succeed, and produce not just a little, but much gain. He calls us to invest those gifts, work those talents, and He will see that they result in rich accomplishments that will bless both us, the people around us, and Him.

We know He is Love. We know He wants to give a second chance to as many people as possible, not only to come to Him, but also to live an abundant life. He has given gifts – talents – for us to invest and use for this purpose. He wants us to be VERY productive with these gifts, and reap huge results!

You might say, yes, I do know what  giftings I’ve been given.  Or, you may feel that you have very few gifts to offer.  Few or many, we all have valuable, irreplaceable, and very individual talents to develop. However, there is another, extremely valuable gift God has given to every one of us.

What is it?

Time.

As of this moment, time is the world’s most priceless gift. It is still free to all of us who live.

How are you making the most of your gifts?

I am now writing this blog. I’ll be working on my book after this.

 

What are your talents, your dreams? How have you gotten going with them?

 

Please feel free to share in the comments below!

 

 

The Best Vengeance

 

 

 

It’s happened to all of us.

Abuses, injustices, offenses, treachery. Wounds we didn’t deserve. People – sometimes those closest to us – who don’t care to make it right.

What do you do, when your offenders have hurt, misused, and betrayed you? Acted in ways that no decent human should act. Trespassed boundaries, destroyed trust, taken away your rights, and thrown your happiness over the cliff?

Most of us would like to see justice done. We want reparation, and restoration of our peace. We want to see the wrong made right,  the adversary acknowledge their wrong,  see the immensity of their crime, and make amends.

Very sadly, this kind of healing does not always happen. We are often left alone with the heavy burden of pain, grief,  even rage, and no answer or relief appears in sight.

What do you do when the offender has no desire to change?

Sure, we can feel re-victimized, experience grief,  get very frustrated or angry, and feel spiteful against them. Don’t they deserve it, after all?

Have you ever noticed the result of such an attitude?  In my  experience, my posture of anger has never yielded the results I wanted.

I have come to see though, that when I choose a higher way, when I decide  to respond with  healthier behavior  than what they have demonstrated, it often seems to baffle them.

Sometimes changing yourself is the best vengeance you can get.

They don’t know what to do when someone  chooses  to not play the “React and Get Offended” game. They have little idea of  how to adjust to someone who treats them with undeserved mercy and a good example of maturity.

And guess what?

THIS is where I have seen the greatest results. I have seen my offenders change their ways, become friends instead of enemies, or sometimes, give up and move on, because I won’t accept the victim role any more.

I have also learned to question my own motives for revenge. What did I want to achieve by getting back at them? More pain, suffering, humiliation? Did I really want them to learn and grow past their destructive ways, into healthier behaviors, or just suffer for the damage they did to me?

In this searching, I have come to realize yet another truth. Vengeance is God’s right and domain. I cannot have the infinite knowledge to know why another person may decide not to change, or may choose to act in the destructive way they do. But God has chosen to offer redemption to them – and to me too – when we least deserved it. So, I have to let them go from my “You Owe Me” file,  and let God take care of them.

I have higher things to do, and so do you. . God has called us to greater things, and we need to expend more time in finding out what those things are, and put our passion and energy into developing those destinies. They will bring far greater happiness and growth, than getting bogged down thinking  about, and anticipating ‘payback’. Is this an easy process? No, but it’s a valuable one!

Don’t let your past woundings and offenses sabotage you from your greatest hopes, dreams and destinies being fulfilled.

Let go of yesterday, pray for those enemies, reconcile wherever possible, plan for a successful tomorrow, and choose to live joyfully today! Invest your energy into building your own dreams and destiny, and stop wasting precious time and resources in thinking negatively of those people, who  -incidentally – gain no benefit from it. Prayer will yield a far better chance for both of you to recover.

Dedicate your energy into redemption, which is making good things come out of evil circumstances. Recognise who the real enemy is here – the one who wants to destroy every person and every potential. Knowing  that the enemy would ruin you, God has provided for your release from the bondage of a painful past.

However, we can’y deny the situations that have occurred. None of us can minimize the pain and agony of some of these wounds. We certainly  must acknowledge them, grieve, deal with them and heal.   However, with surety, we then work onward towards our recovery and revival. Knowing that God has deeply concerned Himself with our restoration, enables us – if we want it – to give the unbearable weight of these woundings to Him.

Go free and forward into your own destiny and drop the heavy burdens of heartache, offenses and grudges behind you!

To pull this all together, when you pray for your enemies, “disconnect” the freightload of pain dragging you backwards.  Let it drop away,  then find your calling, and commit to maturing into your own giftings. That is the greatest  -and healthiest – form of retaliation known to humankind – to decide you will create good out of evil.

It is also one of the greatest blessings God has offered.  And it is free and available, to every one of us !

Transformed

Most of us recognise that we need to alter our lifestyle in one way or another. However, the simple word, “Change” can be one of the most difficult words in our personal life to implement!
What does this word, ‘Change’ mean to you?
We change a flat tire on our car, change our clothes, our laundry, our location, our job, our health, our relationships, etc. Sometimes it is a positive experience; often a negative one.
Change happens in our external environment, yes, but more often, it affects us most profoundly in our internal climate. Personal happiness is often at stake.

How do we create good transformation – an internal habitat that is safe, stable and secure – in a world that guarantees nothing will remain the same permanently?

I’ve asked this question frequently, as much of my own life has changed, fluctuated, distressed or unsettled over the years. Where is a refuge? Where can we find peace?

The church’s classic answer, “Find your peace in God”, just doesn’t mean anything I can grasp with confidence.  I don’t always know what the method is to achieve, “Find “.

(Sadly, manuals are not  provided with these comfortable platitudes. It just gives the ‘pat-answer’ people a means to quickly escape difficult questions…)

A few days ago, I asked the Lord, “What do you want me to read today?” I felt the urging to read in the book of Romans, 12:2:

‘Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove [test, approve, allow, discern, examine] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, [complete, mature, fulfilled]  will of God.’

“Transform”  is a powerful word. It stood out prominently to me, so I began looking up where else this word is located in the Bible.

It is used three other times, in Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2, and II Corinthians 3:18.

The Matthew and Mark references both tell the story of Jesus taking Peter, James and John only up into a high mountain. There, “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone as the sun, and his clothing was white as the light. And Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Him.” (umm, wow!) (but that’s another article…)

‘Transfigured” is another strong word. The dictionary definition defines it as: “to change the form or appearance of; to exalt; to glorify; to make over to a radically different form, composition, state or disposition”.  The Thesaurus gives the synonyms: transformed, changed, commuted, converted, metamorphosed, mutated, transferred, translated, transmuted, transposed, transubstantiated, transmogrified.”

Hmm, where had I seen that word, ‘transformed’ before?

The Strong’s Greek definition surprised me further.

The word ‘Transfigured’,  is the exact same word and definition as ‘Transformed’ !

It is this: To transform, (literally or figuratively, ‘Metamorphose’)

Thayer’s definition says, “To change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. Christ’s appearance was changed and was resplendent with divine brightness on the mount of transfiguration”.

In short, both Transformation and Transfiguration involve a radical change from one form into another.

We may think that Christ’s divine transfiguration on the mountain was a one-time glorious event. God wants us to know that the same transformation is available to us, by an act of our choice!

The Romans verse is spoken as an imperative sentence: “Don’t be conformed to this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

If we truly want change, it is not a passive event. It is a working process, and it requires something of us.

If we truly believe that He is a loving, good God who wants our very best,  and desires to bring us into good things, then we need to choose behaviors that reflect these beliefs. This will enable the positive changes to be fulfilled. As God sees our faith changing our behavior, He is then free to give the blessings.

We often operate under a mistaken belief that blessings should arrive without effort on our part.

While this is somewhat true, in reference to God’s gift of salvation, and His divine love and mercy, He is no sugar-Daddy.  He wants us to grow, to mature.  Only challenge, pressure, choice and exercise is going to do it. We need to defy,  not those around us, but our own carnal nature.

Colossians 2:6, 7 says, “Accordingly, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in that place with thanksgiving.

His word also says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. (Phil. 2:12)  The definitions of ‘work’ say: “to work fully, to accomplish, to achieve, to bring about,  result in,  to work out from which something results, to render one fit for a thing”.

Many other scriptures show that change occurs within our mind, our heart, our decisions, attitudes,  and manifest actions.

Make no mistake. These are not a sleepy, inert  words. They require whole-hearted effort!

**In order to Transform, we challenge our choices and outward behaviours to change, in order to reflect that we truly believe God has purchased our freedom through Jesus Christ. **

He truly wants to bring us into wholeness, joy and prosperity. Our old nature constantly tempts us to relapse.   If we’re not willing to do the work of change, we need to acknowledge that we don’t truly believe Christ’s resurrection has liberated us, and  stop complaining about the distress we experience. **

This is the Why – and the How – of one of the most powerful verses in the Bible.  It also explains the deep symbolism of the act of baptism. “I am crucified with Christ. However, I live! Yet, it’s not me   who lives, but Christ who lives within me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. ”  (Galatians 2:20)

What  if my feelings don’t believe this, you may say?

Don’t worry if they don’t line up at first.  Emotions will  change as we decide and train ourselves to do what is right. Feelings and emotions are never meant to guide our behaviours, yet often we give them a place higher than God’s words. They are indicators only, and have a valuable place as such, but are never meant to supersede our power of choice.

So, in summary, how do we change our internal climate? By changing our internal thoughts to reflect the positive, life-giving freedom we truly have in Christ.

Then, we choose the external behaviours that show – by faith – our belief.

I cannot minimize the cost of this “Mind Renovation” exercise. At first, it can be very challenging. Old ways do not die easily! However, when we engage in the process, resist the former ways and choose better thoughts, there comes a joy, a strength,  and deep sense of fulfillment that confirms deep inside you are on the right path! I have  – and continue to  – walk this process, and I can truthfully say it has revolutionized my life. It has eased depression, and dark, negative thought patterns, and brought an energy and optimism I didn’t realize before. No, sadly I’m not perfect, but, in comparison, this is the much better way to live!

It is no guarantee against the griefs of the world, but it definitely enables a brighter outlook to face the journey, as we step out of conformity to an old, destructive pattern, and into the Life of Christ in us!

 

First, Wipe The Table (Part 3 Of 3) Ready To Begin?

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Ready To Begin?

  1. Start with prayer. Ask God to guide you into what He wants. (After all, these were His gifts to you. He likely has great ideas for how to activate them too!)
  2. List the end goals. (Hint: Ask yourself, “What do I want to do?”)
  3. Prioritize which one you should begin with first
  4. Write the barriers to achieving it
  5. Think of the solutions you may be able to find.  Specify them.
  6. Plan your beginning steps – in small, achievable  portions. Factor in your schedule and responsibilities.
  7. Write on your calendar the days and times when you will work on developing this plan. Make it a regular schedule, even if you cannot always work on it at the same time every day.

Don’t be discouraged if you cannot devote massive amounts of time to your dream at first. What is most important, and what will still achieve results is the diligent endurance to persist faithfully every day, even if for only a short amount of time. It’s true that God alone gives the gifts, and yet, He has asked us to be industrious with them.  It is ultimately the self-discipline of perseverance that creates the success. 

(Read the story in Matthew 25:14-30.  God also “delivers His goods” to us, and will return to see what we have done with them while He is gone.)

Re-visit your plan frequently. What worked? What didn’t go as planned? Adjust, and try again.  Re-visit, adjust, and keep going.

Make an experiment of this for one year, and see how you have progressed. Be diligent – Don’t give up! Remember, you are the only one who can offer your gifts to a world who needs them, and everyone, including yourself, will be better for them!

Here is a link you may find useful for understanding who you are:

https://www.16personalities.com

If you would like further information on another test for discovering your Godly spiritual giftings, feel free to contact me.

Have you tried these any of these steps, or have you found other methods that work? Please share in our comments section!

First, Wipe The Table – What Holds Me Back?Part 2 Of 3

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First Wipe The Table – Part Two Of Three – What Holds Me Back?

You have your own role to play.  No one else can do it for you.

Every one  of us was designed with a purpose. That means you! Every human has a unique gift, or giftings, and a calling to use them for the betterment of the people around you, the community, and the world. Great things can be achieved by mere humans who don’t give up. Don’t ever disdain this thought.

You were created as an utterly unique individual. If you do not fulfill your own destiny, no one else can do it for you, and the world will have been deprived.  When we begin to use our gifts, not only do we stir up the atmosphere around us in a positive, creative way, but we begin to notice something else. There is a joy, and an internal energy that starts flowing inside you, permeating your unhappiness, as we do the work of birthing our gifts.

The Product Of Our Good Decisions Will Show Right Results

God gave gifts to every human, in order that we may all help, repair, teach,  and better our world – to whatever size and scope it is designed for you. When you are ready to do the real work of developing your gifts, then you fix yourself to build, not destroy your own life, and the lives of those around you. You are now targeting yourself towards your own success! How amazing is this decision!

It also displays another facet of  God’s love, towards us, as the Bible says He is glorified when His gifts in us “bear much fruit”  (John 15:8) – in other words, when the product of our good decisions with His gifts shows great results. Do you believe you’re made for this?

Why Is It So Difficult To  Get Going And Activate Our Giftings?

( OR, Am I Ready To Do The Work Of Change?)

Numerous reasons for failure include:

  1. It’s too much effort, and I’d rather not tackle it
  2. I’m defeated from achieving it because of someone (something)
  3. I’d rather have fun
  4. I don’t see a plan to attain success
  5. I don’t really know what my giftings are
  6. I don’t believe I have much to offer
  7. I’m too ashamed of myself to think I could do well and win
  8. I’d rather make excuses, and take the path of least resistance than change my current lifestyle.

Sadly, there is only one person that can change your attitude, and we all know that person. (Hint – You often see them in the mirror…)

However, when we get sick and tired of the ‘same old same old’ routine, when the frustration overtakes the laziness, when self-pity and misty dreams don’t fill our longings any more, THEN is the time to ask, “Am I ready to do the work of change?”

It starts with a PLAN – in writing.

  1. What do you want to achieve – the end goal?

2. What are the barriers to completing it? Write them down.

3. How can you  deal with the challenges? List a sequence.

4. Have you parcelled the task(s)  into small, measurable, realistic and reachable steps?

5. What resources do you have to help complete your objective?

* IMPORTANT*

Here is where the strange title comes for this article. VERY often, we already know what we’re called to do, but we’re waiting for the BIG break .We’re waiting to be recognized by that talent scout, to win the lottery, to have that sympathetic ‘dream -person’  do our hard work for us, to have that distant great-great aunt  you’ve never met  die and leave her limitless fortune all to you – – in short, we’re playing “Enchanted  Gambling. ”  Let’s face it,  we already know -The odds are not respectable, reasonable,  or responsible for our success in this game.

Why do we waste our time doing what leads to little progress?  Well, first, because human nature looks for the easy road. We find it much easier to blame someone or something else for our failures. We have been taught to self-please and embrace laziness -a dastardly enemy that will deprive you of ultimate happiness and success.  We need to adjust our mind-set,  force out slothfulness,  and embrace  real work, design a game-plan, and install Self -discipline as our best friend.  The battlefield engages first in our mind.  Aim yourself to triumph at the more profitable – and probable – business of investing in the power God has already given you!

Character Growth Is Usually Our Biggest Challenge

Secondly, we often overlook the simple things God has already given us to do, because we perceive them as beneath us, or boring. We want to jump right into the exciting stuff, without realizing that God gives us the training we need, in the small tasks we dislike.

That is the reason for the title, “First Wipe The Table”.  Have you ever noticed that family and home life is the most difficult place to be happy and successful? It can be the landscape of our most challenging people, truly. And yet, it is the proving ground for the genuine-ness and maturity of your character.  If you can prosper and be happy in -sometimes despite!- your close relationships, it’s a really good indicator that you’re ready to add more.

What skills are you learning in order to grow the relationships and activities closest to home? Do you practise good boundaries, clear, kind communication? Do you know how to have a healthy disagreement that results in win-win solutions?  Learning -and practising -these skills is a vital part of preparing yourself for an advancement. However, personal growth doesn’t always come easily.

Recognize other people -often those closest to you – will often criticize what you  have chosen to prioritize and pursue. They may have their own dysfunctional past, and  not like the way you’ve changed. They  may be especially unfriendly towards the way your new plan challenges their own issues or laziness. (We often see downright hostility when folks don’t want to face their shortcomings.)  Be aware and prepared for this! It doesn’t always mean you have chosen the wrong thing! Certainly, give regard to what they say. Realize others may contribute useful safeguards from their own experiences.  Consider their cautions and factor into your plan where necessary, but don’t let it deviate you from the path you know is right!

Start with small steps. First, wipe the table, as it were. Clear the “crumbs”, or obstructions from your vision. Prepare yourself an atmosphere conducive to working, to planning, to achieving your goal. Set the stage for your own success. Take care of little details and distractions that hinder you. Plan the best time and place to put your plan on paper. Even if you can only give limited time, do it regularly and relentlessly . Let it be known that THIS time is not to be interfered with. As you create a priority, the goal will set precedence in your life.

List the things your mind sees you doing. I’m not talking about un-Godly fantasies here.  What thoughts do you keep coming back to? These relections often contain results that will benefit others. (Hint:  It may not be anything those around you are interested in.)  You may have a ‘secret life’ – something that fascinates or inspires you, a desire that keeps returning, thoughts that keep recurring. Pay attention. The real “YOU” is trying to tell you something!

God Has Pulled back From The ‘Divine Babysitter’ Role

Recognize you are the only one who can do something to fix this. It is not anyone’s fault, you cannot look to anyone to build your remedies and success. This is the hardest step – to realize It’s Up To YOU! Having said that, we also need to know, we are not alone. You may feel isolated, as if no one cares, but these days it seems God has pulled back from the Divine Babysitter role, and is asking us to use the tools He gave us long ago. Many of us have become lazy, and still expect Him to do everything for us. For the believer, those days have passed.

Part 3 – Ready To Begin?

First, Wipe The Table (Part One Of Three)

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First, Wipe The Table  

(Part One)

How are you feeling these days?

Do you consider yourself happy and satisfied with your life ?  Or are you feeling restless, , undirected, unmotivated, un-inspired? Perhaps angry, rejected, lost in the crowd, sad, meaningless? Maybe you are already doing something(s) you thought you wanted, and yet, it’s still not enough.

Feeling some or all of the above? It’s an unsettled feeling – some good days and many bad ; you may have no energy, yet, there is frantic chaos  inside you;  frustrated yet no constructive outlet appears for it.  Angst floods you at times, but where do you  find that island of serenity?

If  life is bliss for you, and things couldn’t get better, I am happy for you!  However, if any of the above resonates with you, how do you deal with this place and state? How do you express all the thoughts and longings inside you  in a fulfilling, honourable way, where you’ll sit back at the end of the day, and feel deeply satisfied and peaceful?

Let’s explore the ‘Why you might feel this way’ , before we get to the ‘How to get out of it’.

First, there seems to be an epidemic of unsatisfied people just now. These are not always simply the Chronic Malcontents we all know – who are never happy, no  matter what they have. These are people like you and me who have a frequent, often driven ‘sensing’ that all is not complete, and we have more to accomplish.

Do you notice any of these occurring in your life?

  1. a frequent, restless need for change
  2. plans which do not come to completion
  3. recognized dissatisfaction, but immediate, viable solutions elude us
  4.  relational challenges or losses – or both
  5. lifestyle disorganization in some areas ( eg. job, finances, everyday management)
  6. a longing to do something meaningful, to feel fulfilled and happy, yet frustrated by your seeming inability to do it
  7. looking for people or things to fill this need
  8. no concrete plan for future successes

Why do we feel this way?

I have observed that many people have learned to look for their happiness from outside sources. They think this way: “I would be happy if I only had that ___________ (desirable item), if I could just have a relationship with _____________(desirable person). If only I could do _____________ (desirable activity), go to __________ (desirable location),  be  ___________  (rich, famous)”,  etc.

We suppose that all our longings are to be filled by someone or something we do not currently possess. Rarely do we look inside ourselves and ask, “Apart from everyone, and everything I have or do not have, who am I supposed to be,  what do I need to change, and how do I get there?

Barriers pop up immediately, if we even start to entertain this question:

  1. I’m not good enough
  2. Someone is already doing that
  3. I don’t have enough money
  4. I’m too busy
  5. I don’t know how
  6. I don’t have enough support

And having shut down our disturbing restlessness with comfortable excuses, we return to our familiar patterns, until we get dissatisfied again – – and the cycle begins over.

So, I’m going to challenge you with a few questions:

  1. Do you really want to change, or are you happy to continue on as you’re existing right now?
  2. Have you listened to the notions that keep coming to your mind? (No, I don’t mean the junk food you want, or the attractive guy/gal,  or that new item, or that boredom busting piece of activity you want to stir up, etc.)  I mean the repetitive thoughts that keep presenting themselves over and over in your imagination, what you envision yourself doing  -the idea of something challenging you could do –  and, as you think of it, it piques your interest ; you get excited inside.
  3. What means more to you, a comfortable, everyday ‘same-ness’, or facing the challenge to become that better someone you’re not today.
  4. At the end of your life, what will you regret the most if you don’t do it?

Continued In Part Two – What Holds Me Back?